Talking It Over: Marriage Therapy and Men

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Marriage therapy and counseling get a boost in Poser author Claire Dederer's review of Elizabeth Weil's new book No Cheating, No DyingBy Claire Dederer
Author of Poser

You know what no man ever wants to do? Talk about his marriage. How it’s going, how he feels about it, and, by the way, what is love anyway? All the stuff, to generalize grossly, that women love talking about.

The highest compliment I can give Elizabeth Weil is to report that when I finished reading her new book No Cheating, No Dying,, my husband picked it up, read it in a single sitting, and thereupon wanted to discuss our marriage for about three hours.

His eagerness was a testament to the charm, intelligence, warmth, and courage of Weil’s book, which (I fondly hope) will spur conversations in households everywhere about the meaning of marriage, one of our strangest institutions.

Marriage is a legal bond, a love affair, a trap, a safety net, a financial partnership. Its denizens know that it eludes definition and becomes more complex with every passing year. To try to pin it down, then, is an act of sheer audacity, a quality Weil appears to have in abundance. At the opening of No Cheating, No Dying, she decides to take a long cold look at her own marriage and do what she can to make it better. Her husband, Dan, goes along for the ride, if a bit reluctantly. The two of them cast a wide net in the strange marriage-improvement industry that few of us will ever encounter unless we are in a particular kind of trouble. They visit counselors and therapists, and clergy. They talk about money and mothers and children and remodels. And, occasionally, about love.

Read an excerpt of No Cheating, No Dying

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